The Elite 8 is getting ready to begin and when it does, a number 1-seed will not be present for the first time since the NCAA Tournament adopted this format in 1979. That’s the year that the NCAA began seeding teams.
This has already been an insane March Madness. We have seen a 16-seed upset a 1-seed, a 15-seed upset a 2-seed, we’ve seen a program that had never won an NCAA Tournament game reach the Elite 8, and now we will have zero number 1 seeds as the Elite 8 weekend kicks off. Here’s the demise for each of the four number 1 seeds.
The Boilermakers were the first to fall and boy did they fall in quite the embarrassing fashion. Purdue has been knocked out in three straight years to very high seeds but never had they been knocked out by a 16-seed while they were the 1-seed. In fact, this is just the second time that a 1-seed fell to the lowest in the tournament.
To make matters worse, Fairleigh Dickinson wasn’t even supposed to be in the tournament. That isn’t some slang for saying they were a huge underdog. Instead, what I am saying is that they didn’t earn a spot. They didn’t win their conference, the Northeast Conference. However, the team they lost to, Merrimack, couldn’t participate because of an NCAA rule that bars it from the postseason because it’s still completing its four-year transition from Division II.
The next team to hit the chopping block was Kansas. The Jayhawks have been without their head coach Bill Self since the beginning of the Big 12 Tournament when he was hospitalized for a heart procedure. The Jayhawks made it through the Round of 64 with ease but ran into trouble when they had to face the Arkansas Razorbacks in the Round of 32.
Arkansas just barely edged out Kansas, winning 72-71 in a game that was one of the best we have seen all season long. The Jayhawks were blown out in the Big 12 Championship game and the defending National Champs had a difficult time making it to the Sweet 16, but this was still an upset.
The Crimson Tide were slated to face off against the San Diego State Aztecs. Alabama has had a season filled with all kinds of drama (just google it) but this actually seemed like a pretty favorable matchup for the Tide as it felt like they were going to cruise to the Elite 8.
SDSU had other plans and absolutely took control of this game in the big spots and hit the shots they needed to when it mattered most. The major issue for the Crimson Tide was their 3-point shooting as they went just 3/27. When you’re playing in a Sweet 16, you’re never going to win with those kinds of numbers on your side. Their 22 fouls and poor shooting knocked out the Tide, the number one overall seed in the tourney.
The Cougs have been a great story all season and have been the number one team for most of the year or right at the top. They were going to have a tall task of getting to the Final Four if they had moved on as it looked likely that they’d face Texas, but getting there wasn’t the issue we thought it would be.
Miami had other plans as they took down one of the best defenses in the nation and they scored 89 points in a 14-point comeback. The Cougars just could not defend against Miami’s offense that shot 51 percent from the floor.